Controversial and extremely opinionated stand-up comic, actress, writer and political activist Sarah Silverman nearly had her voice permanently silenced last week after suffering from epiglottitis (inflammation of the epiglottis, cartilage covering her windpipe).
The condition, most often seen in children, rather than adults, is caused by several types of germs, including the viruses that cause chickenpox and shingles, as well as streptococcal bacteria, and even fungus associated with yeast infections and diaper rash.
Additional causes can be traced to burning the throat from drinking excessively hot beverages and smoking crack cocaine, not to mention violent throat injury.
Silverman reports that she had no idea how serious her condition was and almost did not go to see a doctor, thinking it was just a sore throat.
Luckily, she was rushed to intensive care at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angles, where they fought to save her life, including performing surgery involving putting a needle into her trachea to maintain oxygen flow, and keeping her on antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds and intravenous fluids to keep her hydrated, as well as “just enough” painkillers to keep her comfortable, due to the fact that it was not possible to “knock” her out for full recovery since her blood pressure was precariously low.
During the treatment, Silverman added that she had no idea of what was going on until she finally “came to” 5-days later, and still has only vague memories of her ordeal as she recovers at home.
These have gradually come back as effects of the medications she was on continued to drain from her system. In fact, she noted on her Facebook page that she literally spent the first 2 days home, “freefalling from the meds/lack of meds and the paralyzing realization that nothing matters,” That idea was partially driven by the fact that she has suffered the loss of 3-people close to her within the last year, in addition to nearly dying herself.
However, she has expressed her deep gratitude to everyone at the hospital who worked to keep her alive.
The fact that she is alive has also triggered feelings of “survivor’s guilt, compounded by the fact that Silverman, 45, has suffered from a lifelong struggle with clinical depression, which led her to a subsequent (former) addiction to Xanax. She now credits Zoloft for helping her maintain her emotional balance these days.
Her self-confession about her mental illness was also well documented in her 2010 autobiography, “The Bedwetter,” in which she not only struggled with it through her teens (as well as recent episodes), but has also been very vocal about the fact that she does not want to have any biological children for fear of passing her depression on to them.